Museums and galleries may be our first port of call when visiting a new city or planning a class field trip, but they are often overlooked when it comes to their digital offerings. What tends to happen when searching for digital resources is that we focus on digital search techniques, meaning we easily miss some of the best resources created by real world institutions.
These days many great galleries, museums, memorials and world famous locations want to share their mystery and wonder beyond their physical walls, and with that comes a world of free teaching resources. For students, this connection between the real word and their study not only helps cement knowledge, it can also help foster the lifelong learning we all hope to encourage in our students.
So, whether you plan on taking a physical field trip, a virtual one or just want to inspire culture in your classroom, take a look at some of these world-class resources and discover just what is on offer.
The second most visited museum in the world after the Louvre, the British Museum in London is dedicated to human history and culture. With an enormous collection (over 8 million works) and such broad scope, the museum’s digital resources can be integrated into lessons of any subject, topic or grade.
With nineteen museums and galleries, as well as the National Zoological Park, the Smithsonian houses a hugely broad array of educational resources. So many so that it has its own dedicated site: Smithsonian Education. From here you can browse lesson plans and resources by subject or search by grade and specific keywords.
The London Science Museum holds a collection of over 300,000 science and technology related items, including such famous items as Stephenson’s Rocket, Puffing Billy and the first jet engine. The digital resources on offer include hands-on activities, videos, online games and lesson plans, all searchable by age, subject and topic.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) is the largest art museum in the United States with its permanent collection containing more than 2 million works from classical antiquity and Ancient Egypt, to extensive collections of American and modern art. It has a diverse collection of digital lesson plans aligned to National Learning and CCS Standards as well an innovative timeline to help find relevant educational material.
The 9/11 Memorial is an educational and historical institution honoring the victims of 9/11 and examining its continued significance around the world. This emotional and still very raw event can be a difficult topic to discuss with students and the digital resources provided do a very good job to help teachers discuss and teach what can be a very complex subject.
Links and Next Steps
- Connected Classrooms – Take students on virtual field trips online
- Google Cultural Institute – Discover stunning art from around the world
- Google Street View – Walk through some of the most famous museums and galleries in the world
- Louvre Virtual Tours – Tour the world’s most famous museum
- MoMA Learning – Teaching resources from the Museum of Modern Art
- Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History – Lesson plans
- Tate Modern – Teaching resources from the Tate Modern
- Melbourne Museum – Education Programs & Resources
- The Tech Museum of Innovation – Design Challenge Lessons
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, Matt Biddulph.